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Suspect in viral assault on Paris woman appears in court

YouTube screengrab.

A suspect appeared in court on Thursday charged with punching a young woman in a Paris street in a case that prompted widespread outrage after CCTV footage of the assault went viral.


Judges said the trial on charges of sexual harassment and aggravated assault would be adjourned to October 4 pending a psychiatric assessment of the 25-year-old suspect, who was arrested on Monday.

The video of the attack on student Marie Laguerre, which she published on Facebook on July 25, boosted support for plans to punish sexual harassment on France's streets with fines.

The footage showed a passerby throw an ashtray at a woman he had yelled at, then walk back towards her and punch her in the face before calmly walking away.

Laguerre said the man had hit her because she told him to shut up after he wolf-whistled at her.

At the Paris court on Thursday, Laguerre told FRANCE 24 the case had raised awareness of “an important issue that every woman faces”.

She added: “I hope it will send a strong message to men who harass in the street […] that this is not OK and that they may actually be punished.”

'I hope it will send a strong message'

Days after the video of the attack became viral, lawmakers adopted a law imposing on-the-spot fines of up to €750 ($857.78) to cat-callers and aggressively lecherous individuals.

Laguerre also created a website to gather women testimonies under the hashtag #NousToutesHarcelement (We are all harassed).

This echoed dozens of other such initiatives around the world that followed the #MeToo campaign launched in reaction to the allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.


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